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Parsha Bamidar - not only about Counting

Parshat Bamidbar

On Rosh Chodesh Sivan- on this day we came to the Wilderness of Sinai

"as one man with one heart - כאיש אחד בלב אחד"

Dear friends “ad 120 b’simcha” Shalom Uvracha mi'Yerushalayim!

We hope that all of you are very well B”H.

In just a few days we will all be standing together as Hashem's brides at Har Sinai to 'receive' the "giving of the Torah" b'simcha. Mazal Tov

lift them up - שְׂא֗וּ אֶת־רֹאש

everyone wants to be raised up everyone needs to be uplifted everyone needs to know that they are worthy to live in Hashem's light and to bring His holy light into every cell and fiber of his being everyone need to know that they can illuminate the world of darkness with Hashem's beautiful holy light

everyone wants eternity, though we know that our days are numbered we seek eternity through our children and children's children why so? because our souls are truly a part of Hashem from above- the Eternal One ברוך הוא, so we instinctually yearn for eternity, we value life

but we live in a world so dark that we don't always feel this desire for eternity; in pervasive darkness we continue to propagate, as all creatures do, without reason or consciousness and we lose sight of our own possible eternity, we lose contact with the holy divine light within 'chas v'shalom'

and so we desperately need tzadikkim - holy people who see our soul lights even through our darkness and so Hashem commands Moshe He commands the tzaddik to lift us up, to elevate us, to connect us back to our source and root so too Hashem is speaking to your/my inner tzaddik - the Moshe within us to lift and elevate one another, every person we live with, learn with and interact with, even those we just walk by we are commanded to see and help reveal the holy divine light within everyone, to lift them up, to connect and reconnect, to be aware of their true source of their holiness and worthy being

how? how? is a very good question a very important question can it be answered while standing on one foot? possibly the two most important words in Hillel's answer to the convert, are זיל גמור -go and learn this until the end, until the end of your wisdom, until the end of your life only then will you hopefully have completed the holy journey you are beginning right now with this holy quest(ion). To know that ואהבת לרעך כמוך is "the whole Torah, and the rest is its explanation" is to know the truth of the Torah. But to know this is only the starting point. You have to spend your whole life to complete it!

how do we get across the narrow bridge? Says Rebbe Nachman, 'the main thing is not to fear at all'; don't let yourself be frozen by fear of falling, look ahead and look within at the נקודה טובה good point of light, even it's no larger than a pinhole, go there, it is Hashem's light in you and in others. Go there and when you come close to it you will realize that no matter how small it seems now, it is the gateway to a huge astoundingly beautiful palace of holy divine light.

but how can we overcome non-inspiration? If everything is really Hashem's doing, for אין עוד מלבדו - ein od milvado - there is only Hashem, and nothing else, then our inspiration to do a mitzvah is also Hashem's doing. What am I to do if Hashem isn't inspiring me? The holy Piaseczner Rebbe זצ"ל explains, (אש קודש חוקת תש"ב) why among all the tzadikkim and tzadkkaniot of her generation, was Miriam specifically, the one צדקת righteous person who merited to bring us the well of living waters. It was because Miriam opened the gateway for all who lacked inspiration from above. Her deep desire and yearning-full prayers to be inspired from above, brought down the heavenly fountain of living waters. Miriam taught everyone not to give up on yearning for heavenly inspiration. This sincere yearning is the mouth of the fountain. With 'teshuvah' we get all the strength necessary to roll away the big rock and we will find the tranquil gushing living waters of 'tahara' to drink, to dip into and be enveloped with all the holy love letters of Torah and ahavat Yisrael.

Pray for the inspiration to lift everyone higher and higher

May Hashem spend a speedy healing and recovery, both physically and spiritually to all who are in need.

We wish you a Good Chodesh! a Good Shabbos! and a Good Yom Tov! May we all merit to receive the Torah b'simcha! Always - every day of our lives.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and Shavout!!, b'ahavh ubivracha Sholom

Parshat Bamidbar: Teachings From Previous Years

▪ Rosh Chodesh Sivan ▪ Machane B'nai Yisrael ▪ A Lesson in Trust from a Simple Yid

Are you a Levite? HFBB-HFB

There is much in this week’s parsha about the Levi’im – the Levites. Before giving us the holy Torah Hashem said “and you shall be unto Me a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy nation.” (Shmot 19.) Though only the biological descendants of Aharon HaKohen were the ones to do the sacrificial services in the Beit Hamikdash, all the people if Israel are Kohanim! Aharon haKohen originates from the tribe of Levi; we too as 'kohanim' are of Levitic origin. And so all of us need to know what it is to be a Levi. The Rambam extends the concept of a Levi, beyond the biological definition. Note especially his words in Halacha 13.

Rambam {Maimonides} Laws of Shemita - Chapter 13

Halacha 12 Why did the Levites not receive a portion in the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael and in the spoils of war like their brethren? Because they were set aside to serve God and minister unto Him and to instruct people at large in His just paths and righteous judgments, as [Deuteronomy 33:10] states:25 "They will teach Your judgments to Jacob and Your Torah to Israel." Therefore they were set apart from the ways of the world. They do not wage war like the remainder of the Jewish people, nor do they receive an inheritance, nor do they acquire for themselves through their physical power. Instead, they are God's legion, as [ibid.:11]: states: "God has blessed His legion" and He provides for them, as [Numbers 18:20] states: "I am your portion and your inheritance."

Halacha 13 Not only the tribe of Levi, but any one of the inhabitants of the worldwhose spirit generously motivates him and he understands with his wisdom to set himself aside and stand before God to serve Him and minister to Him and to know God, proceeding justly as God made him, removing from his neck the yoke of the many reckonings which people seek, he is sanctified as holy of holies. God will be His portion and heritage forever and will provide what is sufficient for him in this world like He provides for the priests and the Levites.29 And thus David declared [Psalms 16:5]: "God is the lot of my portion; You are my cup, You support my lot."

Blessed be the Merciful One who provides assistance.

And how, most particularly, did the Levites do their service? Here are a few words from the Tanya Ch. 50

“The Levites‘ service of G‑d was to raise their voice in melody and thanksgiving, with song and music, tunefulness and harmony. Their music progressed in a manner of advance and retreat ('ratzo', literally “running”, and 'shov', “returning”). [This echoed their form of serving G‑d: the headlong advance towards klot hanefesh, and the restraint, retreat and return from that point.]

Such is the nature of this intense love, like a flame that flashes out of the bazak, as is mentioned in the Gemara (Chagigah, ch. 2).17

At what age are you considered to be a Levite? Consider these words of Rashi very carefully:

Rashi Bamidbar 3:15

טו פְּקֹד אֶת בְּנֵי לֵוִי לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם כָּל זָכָר מִבֶּן חֹדֶשׁ וָמַעְלָה תִּפְקְדֵם:

From the age of one month and upward: When he is no longer in the category of [possible] premature birth, he is counted among those called, “keepers of the holy charge.” R. Judah the son of R. Shalom said: That tribe (the tribe of Levi) is accustomed to being counted from the womb, as it says, “whom she bore to Levi in Egypt” ; as she entered the gate of Egypt, she bore her [Jochebed], yet she [Jochebed] was counted as one of the seventy souls. For if you count their total, you find only sixty-nine, but she completed the number. [Mid. Tanchuma , Bamidbar 16]

In case you are still not convinced about your holy (Levite) status, consider this. I once heard that a young man had posed the following question to the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל; ‘if G-d would have wanted me to be an observant Jew, why was I born into a non-practicing family?’ To which the Rebbe gave him the deepest answer. The Rebbe said: ‘Your starting point in life precedes your actual birth in this world. It is your holy neshamah-soul, a veritable part of G-d, that defines you; not the family you were born into. Why you were born into your particular family is Hashem’s consideration, and you might someday come to know why and you may not ever find out in this lifetime, and it is not necessarily relevant that know Why G-d made such a decision. What is important is that you know that just before you came into this world, before you were born you were administered a holy oath as we learn at the very opening of the Tanya:

“We have learned (Niddah, end of ch. 3):1 “An oath is administered to him: [Before a Jew is born an oath is administered to him in heaven, charging him:] ‘Be righteous and be not wicked; and even if the whole world judging you by your actions tells you that you are righteous, regard yourself as wicked (in the sense that you always need to improve).’” The soul of a Jew descends into a body for a purpose — in order to fulfill a specific spiritual mission in this world. To enable him to fulfill it a heavenly oath is administered to him that he “be righteous and not wicked,” and concurrently, that he regard himself as wicked and not righteous. The root (שׁבע) of the verb משׁביעים (“an oath is administered”) is virtually identical with the root (‏שׂבע)of the verb משׂביעים (“one causes [him] to be sated”). Accordingly, the oath charging him to be righteous may also be understood to mean that the soul is thereby invested (“sated”) with the power that enables it to fulfill its destiny in life on earth. (Lessons in Tanya, Ch. 1)

Rosh Chodesh Sivan

Reb Shlomo זצ"ל - And you know friends today is Rosh Chodesh Sivan. In the first passage (Shmos – Exodus 19.) it says "bayom hazaeh bo'u midbar Sinai" - today they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. In the second passage it says "va'yissu mey'Refidim va'ya'vo'u midbar Sinai." - they traveled from Refidim and they came to the wilderness of Sinai." And the commentaries say - first you (are supposed to) say 'they moved away' and then you say 'they arrived' - and here it says first they arrived and then they moved away?

And the answer is very simple. Physically, first you move away and then you arrive. But spiritually, when (do) you move away from the old place - when you (have) found the real place. Then you have the strength to move away from the old place. First you arrive and then you move away.

So 'chosson and kallah' I want to bless you and all of us with all those holy places that will give you strength to move away – (to) move higher and higher and higher, and deeper and stronger.”

Sefer Bamidbar – Chomesh Hapkudim – the Book of Numbers

As we are beginning the reading of 'Sefer Bamidbar' otherwise known as 'Chomesh Hapekudim" – the book of Numbers this Shabbos, let's begin our learning with reading the first two verses of the parsha:

א וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי, בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד: בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית, לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם--לֵאמֹר.

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying: ב שְׂאוּ, אֶת-רֹאשׁ כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם, לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם--בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת, כָּל-זָכָר לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם.

2 "Take a head count of the entire congregation of the Children of Yisrael according to their families to the house of their fathers counting the names of all males individually.

Hashem's Love – You are Precious!

The very first counting of the Children of Israel took place when we descended to Egypt. Together with Yaakov Avinu, we numbered seventy souls. The next census was done two hundred and ten years later, when we left Egypt. A mere three months later there was another census after the sin of the golden calf. Less than a year later, the census was taken again on the first of Nissan. Surprisingly there was another census taken one month later, on the first of Iyar. Thus, in the space of less than two years, the census was taken four times. Why? What does this signify?

Rashi explains: "In the Sinai Dessert… on the first [day] of the second month, etc." Because of His love for them, [because they (the Israelites) are precious before Hashem], He counts them all the time; when they went out of Egypt He counted them (Shemos 12:37), and when they fell because of [the sin of] the 'golden calf' He counted them to know the number of those who remained, when He came to cause His presence to rest upon them He counted them – on the first day of Nissan [when] the Mishkan was set up, and on the first day of Iyar He counted them [again].

The above cited comment from Rashi underscores the deeper concepts of the census taking (as we learned in Parshat Ki Tissa)- Hashem's love for every single one of us and the great importance of each individual in the eyes of Hashem. Rashi explains that not only does the counting signify the importance of each individual, but it also is [one of] Hashem's ways of demonstrating His love for His people.

In the Tanya the Alter Rebbe teaches us to meditate deeply on Hashem's love for us. By meditating on how every moment of life, every breath and every cell of our being is a Divine gift- our love for Hashem is naturally aroused as well. Taking this a step further realizing that Hashem loves us also strengthens our faith and trust in Him, and thus also further enables us to love one another.

Why is it so hard for us to share with one another?

Yisrael, trust in Hashem, trust that Hashem loves you and is taking care of you. He is giving you exactly everything that you need to manifest your highest and deepest self. Be one with Hashem and you will be filled with joy; you will be very grateful for every opportunity to share, to learn, and to love.

If we were stronger in our faith and fully put our trust in Him, that we have and will have everything that Hashem wants us to have, then we would no longer fear one another, we would no longer need to see one another as opposing competitors. We would live in peace and love.

'Lispor' And 'Lifkod'

Sefer Bamidbar, the fourth book of the Torah, is known as "Chomesh Hapekudim" in the Talmud. Translated this means the 'chumash of the counting'' [the fourth book of the Five Books of Moses] and hence the English name for this book of the Torah is Numbers.

Lashon Hakodesh, the holy tongue, Hebrew, is a very beautiful language. There are two Hebrew verbs which mean to count: and. Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon were commanded: "se'u et rosh" – to take a census - [literally 'lift the head'] 'lifkod' – to count and appoint them according to their divisions 'lispor' – to count their numbers by counting the coins they contributed

In studying the verb 'lifkod' we discover that is used in at least four different ways meanings which are in fact all related.

'Lifkod' (inf.) means: 'to count' – [you count] to appoint – [you have a purpose and mission] 'to remember' – [Hashem is mindful of you]; and 'to command' – you are commanded to fulfill your purpose and mission; you are endowed with a spark of His holiness- with this energy you are to bring His presence into this world.